Paradoxically, the strawberry evolved itself into a self-pollinating hermaphrodite in order to become more popular. Rather than spend the bulk of its energy producing pollen and then luring insects to schlep it elsewhere, the strawberry decided to acquire an avid fan base of clever bipeds to cultivate its progeny worldwide.
Though the scheme worked beautifully, the strawberry’s popularity also came at the price of a good deal of its expressive character. While dozens of varieties were once cultivated in gardens and greenhouses across America, today nearly the entire U.S. strawberry crop consists of a single strawberry variety, the “Pineapple Strawberry”, or Fragaria ananassa.
Fortunately, diverse and undiscovered strawberry varietys may still thrive in the wild. In 2012, an undocumented variety was discovered fruiting in the high peaks of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Once shown to be local to the area, the novel strawberry was dubbed Fragaria cascadensis.